Saturday, September 19, 2009

Year One (2009)


After being banished from his small village, Zed (Jack Black), and his only friend Oh (Michael Cera) set out on a journey to discover the vast world. But when two girls they were trying to woo from their old village are sold into slavery, they set out on a quest to rescue them, and win their hearts.

I really don't know what to say about this film, a quick run over to just about anyone's review will tell you all you need to know. An amazing cast, a classic director/screenwriter, and absolutely nothing works. The jokes fall flat 90% of the time, many of which are subtle stabs at early religions (including Christianity & Judaism), and the rest slapstick humor. The two main stars are as uncreative as they come: the big dumb lug who keeps walking into trouble only to get lucky and escape danger, with his sidekick, the loyal companion who is overly weak, a bit feminine, and always the recipient of the injuries due to the other's bad decisions.

Even the beautiful up and comer Juno Temple, as Oh's love interest, is uninspired, another "damsel in distress" with no apparent ability to do anything for herself. Same goes for just about the entire female cast really (which includes Olivia Wilde and June Raphael), it's rather sad, and you're basically left with a collection of dumb to weird main cast. Granted if I read you the cast list you'd probably think, automatic great comedy. Here: Jack Black, Michael Cera, Oliver Platt, David Cross, Christopher Mintz-Plasse, Vinnie Jones, Hank Azaria, Xander Berkley, the above mentioned, Horatio Sanz, Bill Hader, & Paul Rudd. Yet none of them are of any real interest.

Hank Azaria is funny as Abraham in his minor role, but for the most part the cameos come off stale, sad overly scripted attempts at humor. There's nothing real about the film, it's basically Superbad meets 10,000 BC, and everything is so generic you end up just watching them go through the motions of predictable humor than really laughing at any shock value. In fact the credit role bloopers were funnier than most of the film, and that's pretty sad.

Harold Ramis was at one point a true king of comedy with Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Back to School, Vacation, and Groundhog Day. He even directed the hit Analyze This, but since the 2000's he's experienced a monster drop off. What happened? Where did all the funny memorable characters go? Why did he substitute substance comedy for insane cameo spamming? I really don't know, but the comedy lover inside of me, finds it very depressing, and Year One represents all that is wrong with the modern comedy.

The only thing truly more sad than this films comedy is the rapid fall from grace Harold Ramis has taken over the past few years... I only hope he can return to form with the upcoming Ghostbusters film.

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